Cancer Care

How we diagnose liver cancer


When it comes to diagnosing liver cancer, we know you want a complete, accurate understanding of your condition. That's why we use health evaluations, tests and imaging techniques to get the best assessment of your risk to develop the disease or its current stage.

Tests to diagnose liver cancer

AFP blood tests – identify a protein called AFP (alpha-fetoprotein) that can indicate cancerous cells in the liver or another kind of cancer. We use AFP tests to look for tumors in people at high risk for liver cancer. However, some tumors do not produce much of this protein, which hinders early detection. Noncancerous liver diseases also can raise AFP levels.

Ultrasound – uses sound waves to make pictures of organs inside the body. This noninvasive technique can help find cancers earlier in people with certain liver cancer risk factors.

Risk factors for liver cancer

No one knows the exact causes of all the types of liver cancer. Plus, doctors can’t always explain why one person develops this disease and another does not. But research has shown that people with certain risk factors are more likely than others to develop the disease.

Cirrhosis, chronic hepatitis B virus and hepatitis C virus infections often lead to liver cancer. Other risk factors include:
  • Age
  • Diabetes
  • Family history of liver disease
  • Gender
  • Race

Find out more about our services

If you think you are at high risk for liver cancer, talk to your doctor about whether screening is a good option for you. Or contact our oncology information specialists for more information about how we diagnose and treat cancer, (888) 492-HOPE.